Regardless of your net worth, there is one form of legal work that all clients need – Estate Planning. Estate Planning is simply the process whereby you make sure that (1) if you become incapacitated, that someone can handle your financial and medical affairs via a Financial Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and (2) when you die, that the right person, persons, or charities receive those assets you worked so hard to accumulate throughout your life. Planning ahead will save your family much grief and substantial money, while also avoiding post-death conflict and controversy. And always remember that once you become incapacitated or die, the die is cast, and no documents can then be created. At that point, it is simply too late.
Based in a beautiful, historic Southern Pines home, Carolina Tax, Trusts & Estates offers comprehensive estate planning services throughout the Sandhills of North Carolina. We offer guidance and document preparation tailored to each client's specific goals and finances.
So what are the primary Estate Planning documents that we create? They are the following:
A Will (or Last Will and Testament) is the traditional document that states where you assets go when you die and who handles you estate at your death (i.e. your Executor).
A Revocable Living Trust is similar to a Will in that it transfers your assets upon your death, but it contains the additional advantages of probate avoidance, speed, and privacy.
When you are alive, but incapacitated, who pays your bills, handles your financial affairs, etc.? This document clarifies this. However, what happens when you are alive, but incapacitated, and you do not have a Financial Power of Attorney? Someone would have to petition the Court to declare your mental incompetency, which is a public, expensive, and frequently embarrassing/stressful process.
A HealthCare Power of Attorney is very similar to a Financial Power of Attorney in that it appoints someone to handle certain of your affairs while incapacitated. But in contrast to a Financial Power of Attorney, this document appoints a person to speak to doctors, make end of life decisions, and handle all of your end of life/medical affairs.
What are other aspects of the Estate Planning process that we also handle? They include:
For those lucky folks to have enough wealth where this matters.
Probate is the public process whereby the Court supervises the transfer of your assets to your beneficiaries via your Will. Probate can be time consuming and expensive. Through proper techniques (and occasionally the use of a Revocable Living Trust where appropriate) this can be largely – if not entirely – avoided.
This frequently involves both the use of special trusts and recommendations on the appointment of a guardian or guardians for these individuals.
Whether during life or at death, we can make sure that your assets pass to your desired charitable beneficiaries in the most tax advantaged way possible.
A Limited Liability Company or “LLC” is an asset protected entity that can be used for a wide variety of business practices.
Irrevocable Trusts vary widely in type and function, but are frequently used for asset protection purposes, the appropriateness of which is determined on a case by case basis.
We invite you to contact us for a complimentary consultation about your estate planning needs and how Carolina Tax, Trusts & Estates can assist you in meeting your goals. We discuss our anticipated fees up front and you incur no costs until we mutually agree to serve as your estate planning attorney.